Two years ago, the University of Miami established the Appignani Foundation Chair for the Study of Atheism, Humanism and Secular Ethics. It is the first of its kind, filled this year by a former “professor of metaphysics and the philosophy of science at the University of Notre Dame.”
Louis J. Appignani funded the position with a 2.2-million-dollar endowment, hoping to “legitimize the word ‘atheism'” in the public sphere by creating a foundation whose “founding principle asserts that the planet will only survive if ‘non-acceptance promoted by faith-based ideology’ is replaced by ‘rational scientific reasoning.'” The creation of this foundation, however, only confirms the existence of the God it seeks to replace.
In the original New York Times article, Appignani (himself a committed atheist) said, “I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists, so this is a step in that direction…” In a recent interview with The Atlantic he argued that “atheists are one of the few minority groups in the country to still be widely ostracized by society. While other marginalized populations, such as women and LGBT people… are active in American politics, that’s still not the case for atheists.” In essence, Appignani believes that atheists are being treated unfairly, and he funded the foundation in an effort to correct this morally inappropriate, discriminatory behavior.